Despite ongoing challenges, the NHS strives to deliver world class care free at the point of access. The NHS now faces intense scrutiny against increasingly tough targets. With NHS Improvement’s recent announcement that they are considering further potential “Special Measures” categories it feels as though a failing NHS organisation may be the norm. The NHS is facing increased demands, unmanageable waiting lists, winter pressures that have become summer pressures, an ageing population, bed blocking, gaps in the workforce, industrial action and a black hole of financial deficit.
NHS Choices explains special measures as “Hospitals are put into special measures when there are problems with the quality of care provided to some or all patients that the leadership of the trust cannot fix in a reasonable time without additional help.” It is at times like this that a Trust needs to attract strong leadership throughout all levels of management, particularly at the frontline where driving improvement in quality of care, patient experience and better outcomes is all done within a tight financial budget, on a daily basis. Trusts need to bring on board innovative, results driven and patient focused senior managers to motivate their divisional teams and encourage collaborative working out of their own span of control to be able to balance quality and money.
Berwick Partners have worked in partnership with a number of NHS Trusts in special measures over the last twelve months and the term does have a stigma attached when it comes to staff morale, recruitment and retention. It’s a tough sell sometimes. We have had conversations with prospective candidates where their sole reason for disinterest is due to the special measures stigma and this is where we can add value to a Trust’s recruitment campaign as we can work with clients to re-tell the story and to put right any misconceptions that the label may bring. Often Trusts are well on the way with turnaround plans and those are the things that we can highlight to encourage talent to apply for roles to be part of what could be a good success story.
Hannah Wade and Helen Childs are members of the Healthcare Practice at Berwick Partners